UST SYMPHONY Orchestra’s annual Tribute to the Thomasians offered a variety of renowned classics at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) last March 30.

Conducted by Korean maestro Jae-Joon Lee, the event also featured “Outstanding Alumnus” and award-winning pianist Fr. Manuel P. Maramba, OSB.

Beginning with a four-minute overture from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” the audience was serenaded with a leisurely middle segment with a melancholy oboe solo. The witty and sophisticated tone in the overture showed a foretaste of its four-act comic opera.

The second part was Maramba’s rendition of “Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54” by Robert Schumann. Noticeably present were the shifting moods that distinguish Schumann’s music in the Piano Concerto. Composed of three movements, the first movement, “Allegro Affettuso” opened with a commanding theme that provided an elegant contrast diverging between the lyrical piano and clarinet duet. The second movement, “Intermezzo: Andantino Grazioso” ranged from amiable to poetic tones. The last movement, “Allegro Vivace” moved the piece back to previous themes while ending with an optimistic and uplifting finale.

According to Raul Sunico, CCP President and Dean of the Conservatory of Music, Maramba on his Diamond Jubilee celebration as a musician added further luster to the concert.

“As a former faculty member, pianist, composer, and theorist, Fr. Maramba had contributed significantly towards the present stature of the Conservatory of Music as a leading musical institution in the country,” Sunico said.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125,” also known as the “Choral Symphony” was the main attraction and conclusion of the event. It was divided into four movements—“Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso,” “Scherzo: Molto vivace–Presto,” “Adagio molto e cantabile,” and “Presto; Allegro molto assai (Alla marcia).” The Ninth symphony bridged the musical duality between the Classic of the old and the Romantic of the new, becoming a symbolical power of symphony because of its theme of peace.

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The first movement adhered to Classical compositions but atypically rose to an early climax in the wobbly exposition followed by the “Scherzo” with its propulsive energy. On the other hand, the third “Adagio” movement was strikingly different because of its mostly restful and solemn mood.

After a dramatic transition between the third and fourth movement, featured sopranos Yun-Kyoung Yi and Nenen Espina, tenor Ronan Ferrer, and baritone Daesan No fronted a full chorus from Friedrich Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy” (“An die Freude”) in the final movement.

The encompassing message of unity woven in “Ode to Joy” was given justice with the accompaniment of Coro Tomasino, Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble, and two-time Choir of the World UST Singers. Aliliana Margarette T. Uyao

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